Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Children and Church

Copy/ Paste from Leigh Bortins (founder of Classical Conversations)
This is a recent newsletter article from the founder of Classical Conversations. CC is the curriculum that we are using this year. I found this article too amazing not to share.

Good Morning!
One Sunday morning, in the first church I joined as a new believer, a toddler got loose from his father and ran up on the
stage behind the pastor. Many of the families in that church worshipped with their children. Our pastor took the opportunity to tell
us that the running child was a delight to him and to relate the following story. He had recently been in Africa and was mulling
over a question a native man asked. “How can you stand to be away from your children?” As a modern American father, he was
usually away from his family, and he was touched by the dedication the African men showed their families.
Two weeks ago, I was in Newark waiting to board my plane to India and I too was similarly touched. There were both
Indian and American travelers waiting and the contrast was astonishing. No American children were in sight but there were lots of
Indian children wandering around. I kept assuming certain men were their fathers only to be surprised when another couple eventually
took charge of the wanderer. Indian business men in suits were playing with perfect strangers on their laps. I observed this
dedication to children everywhere I went. Of course, the village tribes all worshipped with their children (and goats and cows)
around and the congregants willingly steered stray toddlers back towards their parents.
This week my church elders asked our congregation a serious question. Not enough adults are volunteering for nursery
duty and they wanted to know what the congregation thought the solution should be. Then an elder read from Matthew when Jesus
rebuked the disciples, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” So I humbly ask:
1. Why do we relegate our children to the basement when they’ve been invited to the feast by the King?
2. Why do we let disciples who think children are a distraction define our services as being only for adults?
3. Why do we not teach moms to hold their infants to their breast during services?
4. Why do we not trust our toddlers to wander occasionally in the loving security of our congregation?
5. Why do we not teach fathers to train their preschoolers to sit still for long stretches?
6. Why do we not teach our 4-8 year olds to draw picture notes of the sermon?
7. Why do we not teach our school age children (and adults) to take written notes of the sermon?
8. Why are our teenage sons not standing with their fathers as they usher, collect tithes, preach, and lead prayer and communion?
9. Why do we not have the men corporately pray for their wives and the women corporately pray for the singles?
10. Why do we not have our adults corporately pray for the children and the children corporately rise up and call their mothers
11. Why are we surprised most children in evangelical churches stop attending church as adults?
12. Why are we surprised so few fathers lead daily family devotions?
13. Why are we surprised that our youth turn to their friends instead of their fathers for affirmation?
I applaud the many American pastors who have shared these ideas with me. They understand that the church is the family
of families, and that the Bible instructs parents to pass on the love of obeying Christ in all things to their children.
Dear Lord, I pray that every parent will love teaching their children to worship in a congregation that welcomes the
opportunity to train parents to lead a family devoted to your service. Help us to literally suffer the little children, and forbid them
not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Love, Leigh

Friday, February 15, 2008

A "normal" homeschooling day....

Many people ask what is the "normal" day of a stay at home mom that homeschools? How does that work? I know I had many questions when we were considering the transition. Let's remember.... I was a very independent, strong natured, hard working, and self-sufficient person before God shook me up. I do still possess some of those qualities, but hopefully they are now for the glory of God and not self. God knew the plans He had for our family, and when the conviction started for Martie and I, we could not disobey. I began homeschooling Taylor when she was in the 2nd grade. We then had Ethan and Andrew. I continued to work, trying to please God and self. God knew my stubbornness, so the week before I had Andrew the shop I was working at closed down. (Very unexpectedly) Hmmmm, was someone trying to get my attention. I was still disobedient and went to work at one of my friends shops. A week later I had Andrew, and during that time Martie convinced me to not return. Since then I have not regretted it once. God has been so faithful to us, and He has provided for our every needs.

So now I am a full time stay at home mom and we homeschool. So what goes into that? I assure you the days are not filled with laying around watching Dr. Phil. As a matter of fact the T.V. could probably disappear from our home. We don't have cable and truly do not see the need. So what does a "normal" day look like? What do you do with all your time? We truly see our children as our ministry, God has given us a huge responsibility in raising them, and we try to be consistent in our efforts. Not all days follow this "normal" routine, we have long nights, which end up being a slower morning, we have children that act in disobedience, and let's face it, we have lazy parenting. Most days our mornings start around 7:00 a.m. everyone has there own chores and it takes about an hour for those to get done. Taylor's chores are to pray, get dressed, teeth, hair, make bed, feed the dogs, and breakfast. Ethan has to make his bed, get dressed, teeth, and hair. Andrew well you know he's still young, but he's learning his roles he has to help pick up any toys, get dressed, teeth, and hair. Around 8:00 Taylor and the boys sit at the kitchen table and Taylor will read her bible from her daily reading plan. The boys eat breakfast and listen as I straighten up the kitchen from breakfast. (Our table and kitchen area is all in the same room) Then I sit with them and we have some form of devotional and read more from the bible. Lately we have been working on certain "character issues". (Complaining, grumbling, obedience...) Then "school" starts. Taylor starts on her spelling, and then she goes on to her memory work. (Science, history, math, English, Latin, timeline, geography) This year she is memorizing all of Eph. 6. It's is so awesome to see her repeat a whole chapter from the bible from memory. The boys do their "school". (Letters, numbers, counting, reading, blocks, play-doh, paint...) Taylor and I do her math, writing and grammar together. Sometimes these don't happen until the boy’s naps, for obvious reasons. We eat lunch at 12:00 everyday, and we are so fortunate to have daddy join us. He will stay for a little while after lunch and play with the children. Around 1:30 the boys lay down for their naps. (Sacred time) Taylor and I finish school, read together, clean up school stuff, do afternoon chores, and start dinner. Every child has afternoon chores which help with keeping everything straight. Yes even Ethan and Andrew do chores. Ethan can straighten toys; help with dishes, dinner, dust. He and Andrew like to clean the glass on the front door. I give them both paper towels, I spray it down and let them clean. No, it is not perfect, but that's not what we're trying to teach them. We're teaching them obedience, discipline, responsibility, helping one another... By the time the boys wake up from their naps and do their chores, it's time for me to cook dinner. I usually get the boys to sit and read. Ethan likes to try to read to Andrew. (If Andrew will pay attention to him) Andrew likes to read on his own. Taylor will sometimes take them outside to play, or they play in their room. We eat around 5:30-6:00 every night. Once again daddy is home for dinner. We love having dinner together every night. This is the one thing I can say is extremely consistent. We always sit together and eat dinner. We like to have a family devotional after dinner. At times we have read, and memorized catechisms, now we are reading a chapter a night in John. We split it up three ways, where I, Martie, and Taylor all read. Each night we take turns with who prays. Yes, the boys join us. This is so important for us, once again it is teaching them obedience, and they are listening to God's word. Believe it or not, they do really well.

Martie leaves for work at 7:30. After our family time I start cleaning the kitchen, and start giving the boys baths. Taylor helps with whatever I need her to, and then she takes a shower. The boys go to bed at 8:00 and Taylor at 9:00. We read to the boys in bed before they go to sleep. Once again, Taylor really enjoys doing this. After the children are in bed I usually finish up laundry, straighten up, check emails, and pay bills.... You can imagine there's still plenty to do.

There's our day! So I guess you can see why there's no time for T.V. I hope this blog encourages those that may be considering homeschooling. We truly believe it is what God has called us to do, and He has equipped us all the way! All things are possible with Him!!! I always wanted to go and sit and "watch" a homeschool family for a day. So there’s a look inside our family.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Martie's February Newsletter Article

The Life of a Godly Man—Joseph
Joseph arrives on the scene in Genesis chapter 37, at the age of seventeen. Joseph was a son of Jacob and was loved more by his father than any of his other brothers. Jacob expressed his love for Joseph by making him a special varicolored tunic. Joseph’s brothers on the other hand hated him and would not speak to him on friendly terms. This hatred for Joseph grew more intense when he told them of his dreams and led the brothers to desire to kill Joseph. After some time, the brothers decided to fake Joseph’s death and sell him into slavery to the Ishmaelites, who then sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh. In Genesis chapter 39, the Bible tells us that the Lord was with Joseph, and his master not only recognized this, but also how the Lord caused everything he did to prosper. Joseph’s success looked like it was going to come to an end when he resisted the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, telling her that he could not “do this great evil and sin against God.” Although, Joseph did what was right in God’s eyes, he still was sent to jail. While in jail, Joseph’s success was revived because the Lord was with him causing all he did to prosper. Later during Joseph’s imprisonment, he correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and chief baker. This correct dream interpretation would lead to his release from jail to correctly interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams of both years of prosperity and famine. Pharaoh recognized that God was with Joseph, and there was no one as wise and discerning as
him. Because of this, Pharaoh made Joseph the Ruler of all Egypt. Joseph was very successful in leading Egypt. Joseph led Egypt to stock pile food during the years of prosperity, so that during the years of famine, they would not be in any need. This strategy worked very well despite the severity of the famine. The famine eventually led Jacob to send his sons on a couple of trips to Egypt to purchase food. Joseph recognized his brothers and finally revealed himself to them. Joseph wept loudly in their presence and told them not to be grieved or angry with themselves for selling him to Egypt. He told them that “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” Joseph sent the brothers back home only to return with Jacob, all of their families, and all of their possessions. After all of the family came to Egypt and settled down, Jacob blessed his family and then he died. Upon the death of Jacob, Joseph’s brothers became worried that Joseph might seek vengeance against them. Joseph responded by telling them “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” What amazes me the most about Joseph is his godly prospective on the different circumstances in his life. When Potiphar’s wife sought after him, he recognized that it would be a “great evil and sin against God.” We need this godly prospective of sin. We need to understand that every lie, sinful thought, and disobedient action is against the holy and righteous God. When many of us would have been affected differently by being put in jail, Joseph worked hard understanding he was serving the Lord. He had such a good work ethic that the chief jailer put all of the prisoners in his charge and did not supervise anything in his control. Lastly, Joseph had a godly perspective on life when dealing with his brothers. Joseph’s response to his brothers showed that he truly understood the sovereignty of God. Joseph recognized that God is ultimately in control and can even use the evil intentions of people to bring about His purposes. This month, we need to commit ourselves to living a godly life regardless of the circumstances we face.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Martie's January Newsletter Article

A Time for Serious Resolutions

Year after year when the clock strikes twelve and the New Year arrives, people will make New Year’s resolutions. After looking back at the year that is passing and into the year that is approaching, many of us realize that we need change in our lives. Many will resolve to stop drinking, smoking, and other bad habits. Others will resolve to lose weight, get out of debt, read their Bibles, and pray more. Although, many people make these resolutions with good intentions, it is not too surprising that as much as ninety two percent will not keep them. We seem to start out good keeping our resolutions for the first month or so; then we end up compromising either because we get lazy or we give into temptation. Once we break our resolutions, we get discouraged and eventually give up and say we will attempt again next year.

For the most part, I have been one who usually does not make New Years resolutions. I have realized for a long time that change usually comes through conviction and not because it is a particular time of the year. This year will be different having come across “The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards”. Jonathan Edwards was one of the leading preachers of the Great Awakening and is often said to be America’s greatest theologian. Edwards (not to be confused with the presidential candidate) compiled a list of seventy resolutions when he was around twenty years old that show his profound commitment to the Lord. A few of Edward’s resolutions include:

  • Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
  • Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
  • Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
  • Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

These Resolutions should make us think of our personal relationship with the Lord. Ask yourself, have I taken my relationship with the Lord as serious as I should, what is really important in life, and how can I most glorify God in my life. Colossians 3:3 says “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The life we live as Christians is not about us or what we can gain, but should living for the Lord. We must be reminded to daily die to self and sin and commit ourselves to God’s will and God’s Word. If you decide to make resolutions this year, read Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions for encouragement and dedicate your life to living for the Lord. In Edwards’ resolutions he stated that they should be read once per week so they would stay fresh in his mind. All seventy Resolutions can be found at: